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Gamer in Asia: why I want to throw my PS4 into the South China Sea

Gamer in Asia: why I want to throw my PS4 into the South China Sea

| May 31, 2014

Last month I crumbled to my baser instincts and bought a Playstation 4 (PS4). I knew it was a dumb decision, that it was too expensive, that there was lack of software, and that I could pick one up much more cheaply when I went to America. But who can come between a nerd and his deepest, darkest desires? Logic never stood a chance.

I bought the PS4 with a copy of Infamous: Second Son, which was awesome. Unfortunately I completed the game on the hardest difficulty, achieving 100 percent completion and both endings over a single weekend. After that my PS4 became a paperweight, squatting next to my TV and glowering at me every time I turned on my Playstation 3.


But things began to change recently. The indie scene has begun to pick up, and some cool stuff was finally getting released on the PS4. Great, I thought, as I queued up Octodad,Child of Light, and Transistor for download. This is going to be fun.

It wasn’t.

(See: Infamous: Second Son review: more than playing superhero)

I love digital downloads

I live in China and I travel a lot. I don’t know where I will live next year. For these reasons, I have been a big fan of digital editions. I can’t transport forty boxed games, but I can take an extra suitcase full of (carefully wrapped and vacuum-sealed) consoles with hundreds of gigs of pre-downloaded games within.


Given the Playstation 4’s connectivity, it was the first choice for a lover of digital editions like me: it can get the latest games downloaded automatically and I can even use my phone to buy new games. And of course, by the magic of internet-pixies, I can even leave my PS4 on standby and it will do it all automatically! It was my gaming wet-dream, but it turned into a nightmare.

What the hell is queue?

I don’t know who designed the PS4 downloading system, but they must be a “unique thinker”. Or just lobotomized. The PS4 download screen is a testament on how to do something already perfected completely wrong.

Let’s start at the beginning, with the lack of a queuing system on the PS4. If you have ten downloads going on your system, they are happening simultaneously. That’s great if you have an internet connection like greased lightning, but on my crappy six MBPS, that just doesn’t fly. I would rather play one game now than watch eight games trickle into my PS4


To make matters worse, there isn’t even a pause function. Even the PS3 has a pause function so you could prioritise what you wanted to download, and when. With the PS4, it’s all or nothing, and the only way to speed things up is to delete the download completely.

It’s a sad fact that most torrenting software, which are made by enthusiastic amateurs living off donations, have more functionality than the PS4. Why can’t I make one download a priority? Why can’t I rank them? These should have been some pretty basic requirements for the latest and greatest in gaming technology.

Split-personality speeds

This would all be forgivable if the downloading function worked, but it doesn’t.

My PS4 seems to have internet speed schizophrenia; sometimes it thinks it’s way faster than it is, sometimes it crawls at only a few kilobytes per minute. My time estimate constantly flickers between “99+” hours or just a few. Come on Sony, you’re gonna give me an ulcer.


It makes it impossible for me to predict when my download is going to be complete, and that makes things difficult. My life revolves around playing games, so being able to know whether Watch Dogs will be downloaded today, tomorrow, or sometime in the next century is important.

When you’re running late on a review, it would be nice to know how late you’re going to be instead of just offering up prayers to Sony’s servers. By the way, we tried that earlier this week, but Sony’s gods are cruel and unresponsive.

It’s not China’s fault

I know that on the tips of your tongues are the words “Iain, you live in China, what do you expect?” But this time, it’s not China’s fault. I am using an Asian account based in Hong Kong and I live in Xiamen, which is less than three-hundred miles away. In internet terms, Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong and I are neighbors


What’s more, I frequently download PS3, PS Vita, and Nintendo games with no problems at all, and do most of my online gaming on either South East Asian or North American servers, so I know that it’s not a case of China’s over-aggressive censorship. Sure I don’t have the highest speeds in the world, but I don’t have anything like the problems I have had with my PS4.

This is 100 percent a Sony problem, and more than that, it is PS4 problem. And one that I hope they fix. Soon.

Disconnect tantrums

To top it all off, my PS4 downloader also has the temperament of a grumpy three-year-old. Every now and again the downloader just says “no” and all downloads stop. There’s no reason for this, it’s just a little protest against my unreasonable desire to play games on my games console.

And while I’m complaining, can anyone explain why I need to manually restart an interrupted download? Do it yourself, you lazy bastard! I don’t want to come home after eight hours in the hot south China sun and find that my PS4 is sitting there with with a notification saying “download failed, please click retry.” How many people just give up and say, “well I know I paid for it, but clicking that button is too much hard work. I’ll just cancel it”? Nobody in the history of gaming, the internet, or common sense has ever made that decision. Just restart the download yourself, you nightmarish monster-console!


I also occasionally get the error “DNS Failure (NW-31250-1)”, which in layman terms translates as “you are fucked”. Receiving this errors mean you have to delete the download and start again. Can you imagine how good that feels after waiting 48 hours for Watch Dogs to download? (Latest review ever, sorry guys.)

How does this happen? I haven’t had a download fail like that in years on PC, Xbox 360 or PS3, so how can it be happening to my shiny new console of less than a year?

Why, just why?

The irony is that my Playstation 3, a console a whole generation behind, doesn’t do any of this. The PS4 has nearly a decade’s head start on the PS3, and has the same company’s greatest minds behind its creation, so what happened? I can only assume that PS4 downloading system was created on the Friday afternoon before Golden Week by a pothead college intern, or an angry game-hating chimp.


Whatever the case, I think Sony needs to take a step backward, and make sure that its current generation isn’t lacking anything the previous generation had. Newer isn’t always better, and without the software to backup the hardware, my PS4 is presently more of an exceptionally expensive paperweight than a true next-gen console.

  • Willis Sia

    Far far away~ in the South China Sea ah~
    I have~
    A PS4~

    • You Are Flat Out Looser


      • Christian Gyrling

        China will most welcome the XBOX ONE.
        We don’t really support any Japanese products like the playstations.


        • Wawang

          Agreed. Most chinese would rather buy USA brands like the iPhone over sony, or samsung, or any other asian brands.

          More like BOYCOTT Japanese products.

  • Niswan Nurdin

    give me dat ps4 if you dont want it…

  • will

    funny stuff, mr. garner. godspeed!

  • dave

    Sorry to hear this, I live in the UK, I have had no such problems, actually absolutely loving my PS4 experience so far. The AAA next gen games look and play fantastic, the online multiplayer is fantastic, and PS4 gets all the best Indies.

    • Tom

      Same here, I live in the US, all my downloads on PS4 are super fast and I play my PS4 pretty much every day and enjoy every hour of it. I think the author’s issue is with the ISP connection to PSN, maybe best thing to do is to buy the disc copies of games from a shop rather than downloading on PSN.

  • Axe99

    Commiserations at the trouble. I know it won’t solve everything, but with the download queue thing, you could just download one thing at a time – it’s what I do here, and doesn’t require an awful lot of complex thinking to achieve ;). Yes, it should be better, but it’s not the end of the world either.

  • papa doc

    I don’t have any of the issues that the author of this article is having. Also, Sony is gonna patch in a “queue” option or something like that so that you can possibly prioritize, pause, stop, etc. your downloads and make it a bit similar to PS3. It may be the Chinese censorship “firewalls” that slow your speed, but IMO, it’s simply your download & upload speed. Blame your ISP before blaming Sony. I am in the U.S.A (FL) and I’ve got the standard, residential Verizon FiOS (fiber-optic) cable connection. I pre-ordered Watch_Dogs “Gold Edition” and it downloaded the game, the Season Pass, Season Pass DLC and the extra pre-order goodies (19.3GB + Season Pass and additional content) in 45 minutes after it was released on the PSN for download. It downloaded all this content (Watch_Dogs game + DLC) in less than 30 minutes onto my PS4. IMO, that’s a damn fast download for a full digital game (plus DLC content) right when the game became available for download from Sony’s PSN. ;-) To me, it sounds like the (1) Chinese firewalls and (2) a slow internet connection is more at fault here than Sony.

  • Jaynes Hanopol

    1. Throw PS4 into the South China Sea then claim it the sea and everything on it later.
    2. ????
    3. Profit!

  • xui

    It does matter that you are in China. Blame the Chinese government and their firewall. You probably have a shit connection to Sony servers (thanks to the Great Chinese firewall). Just because Sony has started selling PS4′s in China doesn’t mean it has servers in China (Sony probably doesn’t want to deal with the Chinese censorship and interference bullshit).

  • http://[email protected] bert

    Look you live in what was once a western style country Hong Kong now it’s China !! And I can tell you it’s not the ps4
    It’s your connection! Or you are an xbone fan boy that just wants to trash
    The ps4 because you can! I have a slow connection in the states and not once has there, been an issue … either your ps4 is broken or your connection Is the issue! But I suspect you are fake and just complaining cause you think we are all so stupid to belive you. I don’t belive it!!! I think your an Xbox or a pc master racer !!!!! So screw you !!!!

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  • Shayn

    I am curious how u got to download Transistor on an Asia PSN. I can’t seem to find it on mine.

  • Pinoy BAstardooo

    Come to the Philippines. Advertised as 8 Mbps. All I got was 1.5 mbps

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